Sara Daniel Romance Author: Tuesday Toolbox – Organize Those Details You’d Rather Ignore

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Toolbox – Organize Those Details You’d Rather Ignore

This stuff isn’t sexy, but it is important if you plan to treat writing as more than a casual hobby.

Contracts: If you’re published, can you immediately locate all your publishing contracts in case you need to review a clause, a publisher ceases operation, or you want to get your rights reverted? If something were to happen to you, could your loved ones find your contracts and know who to contact at your publisher? I have printed out all my contracts and put them in a binder with each book title and publisher labeled, and I’ve showed it to my husband so he knows what and where it is. I update my binder every time I sign a new publishing contract.

Editor/Agent Submissions: Whether you’re published or not, do you know who has your manuscript, and how long they’ve had it for? I have a spreadsheet that I’ve kept since 2002 with all my editor and agent submissions—who I sent to, at what house, which manuscript I submitted, what I sent (i.e query only, three chapters and synopsis by email, full manuscript by snail mail, etc.), when I sent it, when a reply was received, and what that reply entailed. This was absolutely critical a few years ago when I had twenty queries out at once, both so I didn’t repeatedly send the same query to the same agent but also so if my rejections all noted that “the heroine wasn’t sympathetic” I could consider revising before I sent out more queries. Now I have much less to keep track of it, but I still find it usefully when I’m sending a new manuscript to a publisher, so I remember to follow up on it if it’s been out for a while.

 Calendar: I keep two separate writing calendars in addition to my family calendar. My first calendar is a month-at-a-glance booklet where I write down my book releases, guest blog posts, special events on my blog, online chats, author appearances and anything else noteworthy. While the first calendar deals with public events, my second calendar is for my writing life behind the scenes. I’ve used both a month-at-a-glance and a week-at-a-glance over the past couple years. On this calendar, I note what I plan to accomplish, whether it’s edits on a manuscript or a daily word count on a new manuscript. I also note when I have personal appointments or commitments that will eat into my writing time so I can set realistic expectations for the day/week/month. And I update and revise often, so nothing slips through the cracks.

I’ve left off the biggest and most hated organizational items: Financial and Taxes. We’ll tackle them in next week’s toolbox.


  1. good stuff here Sara! I'm going to find my contracts right now. I hope!

  2. Love this! Especially the contract binder. Note to self...go to Staples and buy a binder! Cheers!